CHAPTER XXXI SPINAL POISONS STRYCHNOS NUX VOMICA (KUCHILA) O This tree belongs to N.O. Loganiacese, and grows in the jungles of Man- bhoom, and in the Madras State, Malabar and Coromandel Coasts, Its ripe fruit contains nux vomica seeds, which are poisonous. They are flat, circular discs, or slightly concave on one side and convex on the other being I" to V in diameter, and i" in thickness. They are ash-grey in colour and have a shining surface with short satiny hairs. Internally, they are tough, horny and slightly translucent, having no odour but posses- sing a bitter taste. They yield two principal alkaloids, ^ strychnine and brucine, united with strychnic, igasuric or caffeotannic acid. Besides, the seeds contain to a small extent a glucoside, named loganin. The bark, wood and leaves contain brucine, but no strychnine. The following trees belonging to N.O. Loganiaceae also contain the same alkaloids : — 1. Strychnos Colubrina (Snake wood, Kuchila lata or Gogari lakdi). 2. Strychnos Ignatii (St. Ignatius' Beans, Pcupita). 3. Strychnos Tieute (Upas tree): — This is used in making arrow and dart poisons by the jungle tribes of the Malay Peninsula. Strychnine, C2iH22O2N2.—This crystal- lizes in colourless, inodorous, rhombic prisms, having an intensely bitter taste. It dissolves very sparingly in water or ether, but dissolves in alcohol (90 per cent) and in benzene, and readily in chloroform. It is a B.P.C. preparation, the dose being 1/32 to 4 grain. Strychnine is very stable, and does not change in the process of putrefaction, if present in a dead body. Hence it can be detected some years after death. Strychnine is used for destroying stray, unclaimed dogs, rats, mice and other vermin, and forms the chief ingredient of several vermin killers, known as Barber's, Battle's, Butler's, Hunter's and Marsden's vermin killers and Miller's rat powders. These consists of starch and are mixed with some colouring material, such as soot,* indigo, Prussian blue or ultramarine. The sale of strychnine and vermin killers to the public is restricted under the rules made under the Poisons Act, 1919. Brucine, CasHfceOJ^.—This occurs in colourless, prismatic crystals with an^ intensely bitter taste. It is slightly soluble in cold water, but more in boiling water, and freely in alcohol, chloroform and amyl alcohol, but not in ether. It resembles strychnine both chemically and physiologically, but its toxic effect is only about one-twelfth of that of strychnine. Both strychnine and brucine form salts, many of which are soluble in water. Fig. 194.—Strychnos Nux Vomica.